The U.K. According to a new assessment from the Digital Connectivity Forum, the UK’s top advisory group, the country is at risk of not reaping the full benefits of 5G. On connectivity, the government. The paper, titled The Investment Gap to Full 5G Rollout, was prepared in partnership with Frontier Economics and assesses mobile network operators’ ability to invest in new high-capacity, high-speed wireless 5G services.

While the United Kingdom Even though mobile network operators expect to invest around $10.5 billion in new network infrastructure by 2030, the analysis reveals that this significant investment falls short of the actual cost of attaining full 5G capability.

To fulfill both predicted traffic demand and UK-wide deployment of basic 5G functionalities across the existing mobile network footprint, basic 5G functions might be deployed throughout the existing mobile network footprint and could require an incremental $3.5-5.0 billion by 2030. Moreover, deploying networks with enhanced 5G quality and coverage beyond the existing mobile footprint would require an additional $11-12 billion investment, significantly increasing the investment gap. The report concludes that a greater level of investment is needed to deliver transformative new services dependent on 5G, such as autonomous vehicles, automated logistics, and telemedicine.

Currently, the U.K. MNOs – Vodafone, EE, Three UK, and O2 – are deploying ultrafast 5G networks around the country. Both EE and Three UK already cover 50 percent of the population. While MNO coverage targets are not fully articulated, EE says it expects to reach over 90 percent of the U.K.’s landmass by 2028.

The paper also includes a number of recommendations to help close the expected investment gap and ensure that the full potential benefits of 5G are realized.

Spectrum policy – Policymakers may explore speeding the availability of extra spectrum for mobile use in order to meet increased traffic demand and the development of sophisticated use cases.

Network sharing – Sharing network infrastructure and equipment among MNOs lowers total industry expenses by eliminating duplication of fixed costs.

Consolidation – Mobile network consolidation would eliminate the need for duplicating mobile infrastructure, lowering the fixed costs of rollout amongst merging MNOs.

Equipment prices – Adoption of OpenRAN may promote compatibility between different hardware and software providers, resulting in increased choice.

Other rollout hurdles – As appropriate, governments should streamline the processes for authorizing and licensing new tower construction.

Government subsidies, levies, and taxes – Direct financial assistance to MNOs and infrastructure owners, as well as collaboration in the form of a public-private partnership, might aid in the implementation of 5G networks across the United Kingdom.
Unlocking new use cases – Policymakers might look into ways to encourage the development of new 5G use cases by directly encouraging the infrastructure-reliant technologies.

Net neutrality guidelines must be reviewed to guarantee that MNOs are not imposing special tariffs that prohibit enhanced services for specific applications or customers.

“If you are using a newer smartphone or tablet in many of the U.K.’s bigger towns and cities, there’s a high chance that you’re already making use of high-speed, high capacity 5G,” says Alex Mather, Head of the Digital Connectivity Forum. “But 5G … technologies have the potential not only to increase the productivity of the nation and boost U.K. competitiveness but also to improve the quality of services that the Government provides. Our research finds that there is a real risk of these revolutionary benefits not being realized…We, therefore, encourage the government and industry to work together to ensure that intensive and timely investment is delivered.”